Legal Insights / Fees / Respectful Workplace Policy: what it is and how much does it cost?

Respectful Workplace Policy: what it is and how much does it cost?

Apr 1 2024

All BC employers are required to have an anti-bullying and harassment policy. Below sets out the general requirements and what information we will need from you if you need help preparing one.

What is Bullying and Harassment?

Generally, bullying and harassment are where someone takes an action that they reasonably ought to have known would cause the worker to be humiliated or intimidated. It can include verbal aggression or insults, calling some derogatory names, vandalizing personal belongings and spreading malicious rumours.

A reasonable action to manage and direct workers taken by the employer or supervisor is not considered bullying and harassment.

What is required?

1. Have a policy statement that sets out the employer’s commitment to an environment free of bullying and harassment and what behaviour will not be accepted or tolerated at that workplace.

Procedures in place for responding to reports or incidents of bullying and harassment, including:

– How and when the investigations will be conducted

– What will be included in the investigation

– The roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers and others (such as witnesses, investigators or union representative)

– Follow-up to the investigation (description of corrective actions, time frame, dealing with adverse symptoms, etc.)

– Record-keeping requirements

2. Take steps to prevent or minimize workplace bullying and harassment including taking all incidents seriously, whether allegations have been submitted through a formal complaint using the employer’s procedures or the employer becomes aware through informal channels.

3. Train supervisors and workers on how to recognize the potential for bullying and harassment, responding to it and how the employer will deal with incidents and complaints. All workers must be provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety while working.

4. Have supervisors and workers annually review the policy and procedures for investigations into complaints. Even better to have them sign off that they have reviewed the policy and procedures so that to keep in their personnel file.

What if you don’t?

An employer’s general duties include ensuring the health and safety of all workers. If WorkSafeBC were to receive a complaint of workplace bullying or harassment, their first step is to ensure the employer has an adequate policy in place to address the complaint. So if you have an adequate policy and are following it, generally WorkSafeBC is not further involved unless there turns out to be a compensable injury.

If you fail to ensure a safe environment, which includes psychological as well as physical safety, not only can WorkSafeBC make life more difficult but it could justify an employee walking off the job, claiming constructive dismissal and seeking severance. It is well-known that turnover is more expensive than having a happy workforce, so not only is it the right thing to do but it also makes business sense too.

In general, an employer reduces its risk of being found liable for creating a toxic workplace or an employee developing a mental disorder caused by bullying and harassment by creating and diligently following its a respectful workplace policy and accompanying procedures.

How we can help?

A member of our Employment Law team can assist you in crafting a legally-compliant respectful workplace policy that includes procedures around how to handle complaints. You can contact our Litigation Intake Team at 778.666.3723 or by email to If you have your corporate file with us just let our corporate team know and we will be happy to liaise with them.

What we Need:

For your respectful workplace policy and procedures we will need the following:

  1. Any conduct of particular concern that you wish to highlight
  2. Whether there are any core values to your organization relating to anti-bullying and harassment
  3. Who complaints should be reported to (typically supervisor or HR)
  4. Who complaints should be reported to if a supervisor or HR is involved

If we have all of the details above, we can have this completed within 1-2 weeks depending on lawyer availability.


Our standard fee is $1000 plus tax. There may be an additional fee for large companies with multiple worksites and complex reporting structures. We are also pleased to offer a 10% discount on workplace policies drafted for companies that have their registered and records office through RDM.

Workplace Investigations:

We are also able to conduct workplace investigations if the allegations are of such a nature that it makes sense to bring in a third party. These are typically where allegations involve senior team members and/or there are serious repercussions like termination or criminal charges that may result. The cost of this ranges significantly based on the number of witnesses involved, documentation that needs to be reviewed and type of report needed. The typical cost ranges from $5,000-$15,000.

More information on workplace investigations can be found on our website here:

Employee Handbook:

If you are looking to incorporate your respectful workplace policy into an employee handbook, we are able to either review your existing handbook and provide edits to ensure it complies with legal requirements or prepare a handbook for your company. More information about employee handbooks can be found on our website here:

Get in Touch


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